Day 4

Trip Start May 04, 2007
Trip End May 21, 2007

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Tuesday, May 8, 2007

First day at Bournemouth & Poole College. The 3 of us met downstairs for breakfast around 8am and our "buddies" came around to meet us at 9am. Our buddies are Louise, whom we had dinner with Monday night, Roy (Matt's buddy) and Jacob (Tory's buddy). Since the college is right next door we walked over with our buddies and went to their student cafeteria to have a coffee and to chat and get comfortable with each before starting off with our campus tour. Louise is hilarious. She is constantly smiling and laughing. Jacob is quite cynical with his humor and easy to be around. Roy is a wealth of historical information. Jacob was teasing him saying he spent the night googling info on Bournemouth and the history of the college so he'd have something to tell us. Roy definitely knew his stuff... googled or not.

We started our tour of the campus around 9:30am. The campus is on a small location and made up of an old public library, the original girls primary school, the original boys primary school, 3 houses, and several additional builds in between these structures to make more college space. Most of the "new" buildings were built in the 1950's. The library building was actually going to be a partnership when B&P College was just starting. The city council was going to build the public library in conjunction with the college but then changed their mind and built a much larger library in another part of town. They did finish the original library building and when they decided not to open it the College bought the building from the council. Above the "back door" Public Library is carved but inside all the city council seals have been chiseled away. The main entrance to the library building is only used for an emergency exit. The college houses their IT programs in this building. It also contains their resource center (library), open access computer labs, and a quiet study area upstairs.Because the college is right on a main road the students have to sign in and show their ID to use the resource center and the open access computer labs.

The top of the building has a tall clock tower. Roy told us the history of the tower. Across the main road from the library building is a Kentucky Fried Chicken (how sad) that use to be the Metropol Hotel. This hotel was one of the few buildings in Bournemouth that was bombed during the war (he did not say if this was the Great War and the Second World War). Canadian service men were stationed in the Metropol Hotel. When the bomb destroyed the hotel all the bodies were recovered but one. During the blast the clock tower on the library building was damaged. A couple of months later maintenance on the clock tower was scheduled and the lost body of the service man was discovered. He had been blown from the hotel across the street and thrown into the clock tower. His body was entangled in the clockworks. I tried to do some research to verify this story and to make sure all the facts were straight. I wasn't able to find anything online so take this story as legend until you hear otherwise.

The library building was completed in 1910 and was the first municipal building in Bournemouth. The building is now known as a "listed" building which means they are under limitations if they want to make any structural changes. For example the building is not wheelchair friendly and they are in great need of adding elevators. Some of the elevators that do exist are extremely narrow and not possible for a wheelchair to get into. If the school wants to make any structural changes they have to show the proposal and the plans and the organization that has the building listed either accepts or declines the structural changes.

During the tour, Roy mentioned that the college use to be owned by the city council and therefore funded by the government. In 1995 or 1996 the college went through incorporation. This means that the college is now more accountable and their funding is dependent on attached conditions whereas before they were just given funds and that's it.

As the tour went on I was very interested in two programs the college has established. The first one is the Personal Tutor program. Faculty go through tutor training workshops and generally meet one hour a week with students assigned to their tutor group. Some meet more often. (Louise mentioned at a secondary school the students started off each morning with a meeting with their personal tutor and the tutor group before heading to classes and then again in the afternoon after lunch before they started their afternoon classes.) This initiative has been a high priority of the government. Each tutor group chooses a student representative to be the voice of the group when raising issues/concerns/ or requesting information to go over in their tutor meetings (such as university application processes, portfolio construction, study habits, etc.) Full-time faculty are assigned a tutor group each term as part of their workload. The students also have a subject tutor which is more informal but available to them. The students can choose to go to one or the other or both. The intervention of the tutors is quite impressive. Jacob mentioned that he will get a note in my mailbox saying one of his students from his tutor group didn't attend class. He will call them or go see them to see why they didn't attend.

The other program is the Study Advice Center. All students are assessed in their induction week before the term begins to see if they qualify or need any accommodations. This is done before the term so the college knows how many Learner Support Assistants (LSA) they need for that term. Full-time faculty can be a LSA or a trained staff member... not a student. The potential LSA sits for Key Skills testing and then participates in training before placed in the Study Advice Center. It's a paid position that can be either full time or contractual. The college (2 main campuses and 5 satellite locations) has 50-70 full time LSAs currently and the Director of the Study Advice Center says it's not enough. These numbers do not include the part time LSAs. Students can stop in the Study Advice Center and request a slot to meet with someone about a particular issue or can request to be tested for a learning disability. The process for testing is quite lengthy and has several levels. Sometimes the disability is indicated early on in the testing process and other times the student goes through the entire process before the disability is discovered. If the student is in their first 2 years going for a Foundation Degree or attending 6 Form (ages 16-19) then all the testing is paid for by the government. If the student is is an HE student (Higher Education) and is being tracked to continue to a university (over 19 yrs old) the Study Advice Center will get a grant to fund the testing of that student... and it's done. No student is turned down for testing and the students use the Study Advice Center and all their services. Some of the services available besides testing for learning disabilities is study habits, personal health, literacy, numeracy, writing skills etc. The Study Advice Center takes on a holistic approach to providing services for their students.

The college has several specialty programs such as Floristry Arts, Culinary Arts, Hairdressing, Beauty & Holistic Treatments, and Animal Management/Animal Care. These were just some we walked through to see their facilities. We spent some time in the Animal Management and saw all the animals. Students taking this program are looking to get into Pet Shops, Pet Shop management, and possibly moving on to the university for Veterinary training. The Animal Management courses are taught in the old Boys Primary school building and the cellar of this building is where the animals are kept. The college has also built cages and pens outside the building for birds, ferrets, etc.

The general classrooms are organized to fit 1-3 types of classes (for example History, Politics, & Economics would more than likely be taught in the same classroom so maps, charts, posters can be put in the classroom). Not all classrooms have the same technology and some don't have any at all. If you are instructor whose class is assigned to a room without technology you can swap with another instructor for that day. It's a very relaxed system which the faculty seem to like.

We had lunch in the on campus restaurant that is run by the Culinary Arts program and the Hospitality program. It's a functioning restaurant open to the public and the public pays for their meals. We had a choice between a 3 of 4 course meal. We started lunch around 12:30pm and ended at 2:30pm. We met with Lawrence who is the Vice Principle of Academic & Student Affairs, Rob Garner, Academy Director for Sixth Form Studies, and Les Lees, Academy Director of Creative Industries. When "pudding" came around (that's dessert in England) they had a candle in my Sticky Toffee & Date Pudding" and they sang Happy Birthday to me.  

We had a meeting with Lawrence and Rob about the history of how this faculty exchange program came about. We were introduced to the Executive Board but very briefly. Afterwords we met with Rob who explained to us the organizational chart for the college. They have principles instead of vice presidents and Academy Directors that are somewhat equivalent to deans. It's quite confusing to try and explain the difference in terms and titles so I won't attempt it in paragraph form. One of the most interesting facts we discovered (at least most interesting to me) is that any international student who comes from a country with the European Union (EU) is seen as a local student and is paid for by the government. I found this fact fascinating.

At about 4:30pm we all became pretty worn out so we headed back to the hotel to catch a quick nap. I came downstairs to work on my travelogue after a quick nap and the 3 of us decided to head to dinner around 8pm for my birthday. We walked down Christchurch Rd. toward the Towne Center and ate at Alcatraz, an Italian dinner. It was wonderful. One of the biggest differences I've witnessed in England when it comes to dining out is that you can't be in a rush. The wait staff doesn't hover or come back often to ask if everything is okay or if there's anything you need. Because of this we ordered around 8:30pm and at 11pm were still trying to get our check so we could head home. So much for an early night in (this is why I wasn't able to get my travelogue posted yesterday... sorry for the delay). On a side note, we were so busy meeting people I didn't have a chance to take any pictures. I'll try tomorrow.
More tomorrow...
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memayes on

Hi from Cy-Fair
Awesome blog Julie!!! I hope you and the others are having a great time! We miss you but enjoying all the information you're writing about. Can't wait to have lunch with you and hear all about it when you get home! Safe traveling! - Melinda

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